ANZ restructure aims for a more well defined target

The launch this week of coincides with confirmation that ANZ Bank is to reinvent itself as a niche player in the Australian Banking industry.

Some keen lateral thinking with regard to its position as the smallest of Australia’s 4 major banks has convinced Mr John McFarlane, ANZ’s chief executive, that growth through acquisition is ‘not the best game in town’.

Mr McFarlane believes that specialists, not generalists, will win in the future. In other words the name of ANZ’s game will be to do what we do and do it well. Mr McFarlane spent a full day briefing media and broking analysts on his plan to effectively restructure ANZ into three divisions containing 21 separate operations namely: wealth management (private banking), small business and general banking.

All operations will have a ‘bricks and clicks’ mix of both internet and branch based distribution with high degrees of autonomy.

To this end aims to allow ANZ to build ‘one-to-one’ relationships with its on-line customer base. The web-site is designed to improve and personalise the on-line experience an ANZ customer will have by helping them create a page that suits them. Among the range of features the customer can choose from is access to their ANZ account balances, share portfolio information via ANZ My Portfolio, ANZ products and financial tools, Australian and overseas news, sport, entertainment and travel information as well as favourite links.

Meanwhile National Australia Bank has announced it aims to further reduce over the counter transactions to just seven per cent over the next three years. To this end NAB branches will increase the number of ATM’s and deposit drop boxes together with Internet and telephone banking facilities. Branch staff could number as few as two – one a ‘meeter-greeter’ and the other a teller.

NAB maintains that it now costs $3.00 to process a transaction through a teller as opposed to twenty cents via the telephone or just two cents over the Internet. NAB also claims higher customer satisfaction rates amongst those who bank on-line.

NAB has been lagging behind its competitors with an appropriate response to the way branch designs and therefore service has evolved. The Commonwealth Bank launched a new branch model some five years ago and it is now well established. On top of that, through Woolworths Ezy Banking, it has found a way of presenting its traditional branch products through kiosks located in the supermarket.